Word Count 89K
*This is what the word count is for the book so far. This will be close to a 90K word story.
This will be the last update of Handle with Care.
But that's not a bad thing! In fact, I'm celebrating as I put in the last words down for the second book of the Notice Me Senpai series. What happens from here is... I take a week's rest. Then I go back and edit. At least in theory. I might just blow off the rest, start up on FIRE MAGE, or put down some new ideas on paper that I have in my head and get them outlined.
Things I'm interested in writing:
Superhero Lover (Dark Heart Heroes) - Super Villain duplicates his arch nemesis to gain insight in how to destroy the cities favorite hero only to realize the reason for his animosity (enemies to lovers).
Truckers & Lovers (Dark Heart Heroes) - Two drivers find out they have more in common with each other as their attraction grows (sexual awakening)
The Blood Doll's Kiss (Taboo Fiction) - A college student who feeds vampires for money finds herself the prize in a war between blood sucking families. (Paranormal Romance)
Triad (Taboo Fiction) - After years of relentless battle, a pact between an unyielding mage and the demon that would posses him created Marcus, a personality with his own mind and body who encases them all. But the demon within is not willing to curb its blood lust. After Marcus attempts to restrain the demon and fails, an army is sent to destroy Marcus. Upon their meeting, the king of Benicar presses Marcus for a truce and convinces him to serve under Benicar’s banner in a war between nations. Dispatched to another town Marcus finds Platt, a beautiful farm girl with a mysterious gift he believes could bring true peace between the mage and the demon inside of him. But soon after he settles in the town of Reginhart his neat and tidy world becomes unraveled. (Demon Romance)
Fire Mage (Dark Heart Heroes) - Sent to assassinate a rival guild member, Homura finds his target an unwilling victim. (Dragon Romance)
SG1 Atlantis Fanfic - Don't we all have that one movie/tv show/book that we love and want to play in?
Senpai on Senpai (Notice Me Senpai) - There's a new teacher in town and it's up to Mr. Goyas to help save the man from his own students.
Fantasies of an Airship Pirate (Taboo Fiction) - Inspired by Abney Park’s “Airship Pirate” song… Captain Hasen invades a lone transport airship expecting riches from the hull of the Empire's Zepplin.
What he finds are refugee's. Finding no money and only lost children and two nuns, Hasen is disgusted and ready to cast everyone overboard despite his sudden and unnerving attraction for Katharina, the head nun of a church Hasen no longer believes in.
Katharina in turn offers Hansen money when they get to the church for safe passage. Though he accepts, Hasen learns he wants more than her money. (Dystopian Pirate Romance)
As you can see, I have plenty to keep me busy. The issue is choosing. But maybe you can help me! Let me know in the comments which one/ones sound interesting.
The next update will be yammering about the next thing I've decided to move to. I'm leaning towards finishing the Notice Me Senpai series. I have one more story idea other than Mr. Goyas' story. Then it will be done!
Sometimes I feel like I'm writing to get better for that one series that is really special. Other times I just can't write fast enough.
For those of you still on this ride, I have one last excerpt, then you'll have to buy the book to find out the end. Woot! Word of warning though... "Handle with Care" has been the working title. In the spirit of the series, the name will actually be "Redeeming Senpai".
Because this is the last update with excerpts (and I feel they are too short) I've included two.
XOXO ~ Stephy
Handle with Care
No part of this story may be reproduced or transmitted without written prior permission from the publisher. This is a work of fiction. All characters, names, events, incidents and places are of the author’s imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
This is a totally unedited chapter. It may or may not stay the same after final edits and it may or may not remain in the story.
If you find any grammar, spelling or punctuation errors, please let know via the comments!! I may not get to them right away, but I will get to them. Thank you!
If you are totally lost & would like to start at the beginning of (working title) HANDLE WITH CARE, click the button below.
Below is an excerpt of (working title) HANDLE WITH CARE
“Wake up, Liam.” Kai pulled the covers down to my naked waist.
I lost the fog of depression sheltering me from daily life. Unappreciative of his wake-up call, I pulled the comforter over my head. “Go away.”
“You are running late for school.”
“I’m not going.”
“Not an option.”
“That is not the schools fault.”
Kai rummaged around my drawers and tossed a pair of underwear, jeans, a shirt, and socks on my bed. To finish my wardrobe for the day he laid my steel-toed boots on the floor near my head.
I grabbed his wrist. In a flurry of covers I turned away, pulling him with me on the mattress. But I kept rolling until I rested in a blanket burrito with Kai underneath. My clothes were under the layers along with Kai. He was inconvenienced but not stuck. Too bad. I’d have used him as my personal body pillow.
“I already know what you’re going to say.”
I couldn’t see him and couldn’t gauge his reaction. “I’m out, right?”
Kai’s body sunk into the bed. “I think it best if you reside in a different space.”
“Safe.” He rubbed the covers over my back.
It wasn’t going to be safe away from Kai. So far he hovered over me like a helicopter parent. That was what kept Andy away. If I left here, I might as well go back to that scumbag. No way.
“You don’t know what you’re asking me.” Kai was my safe.
“If you stay here, I’ll destroy you and obliterate any honor I have left.”
“That’s not true.”
“Liam…” his voice turned hard.
But I spoke over him. “We’ve been doing fine. All these months and I haven’t stepped out of line. Okay, I had one bad day, but I’m better now.”
Kai’s stroking paused. “I have a small apartment closer to the school.”
“Will you be there?”
“Then I will leave and you can stay here.”
“I’ll find you. No matter where you go.”
He sputtered a laugh. “What if I decided to go to Aruba?”
“Then I’ll bring my swimsuit.”
His silence crushed my hope. There was something I could say or do. Something that would make him see how much I needed him. How important it was to be with him. He was turkey dinner family to me. Now that I’d had this life, going back would churn me inside out. Like all the skeptics on the street. There was nothing left for someone like me but drugs and STD’s.
Choosing my words instead of spurting what came to mind, I said, “I’ve done things. Things I don’t want to remember. You help me forget. We can do this.”
He sighed and stroked my back. “These past few months have been difficult. Wonderful but challenging. My resolve is tested every day, every moment with you. It starts off as a warmth from your smile, or a touch. Mild craving turns to yearning. Longing turns to passion. Lust convinces me one more stroke of fingers down your arm will hurt nothing.” He caressed my back and I wanted to sink into him forever. “Passion becomes a thirst and I tell myself no. The heart asks why? My body commands me to feed this hunger. Denying myself disintegrates my soul. Honor is the last defense I have, and you are whittling it away.”
“You’re missing one factor.”
He leaned his head back in serious thought. “What would that be?”
“Don’t forget that I have a will too. I won’t let you destroy yourself.” Because that’s what would happen. If we broke down together before I came of age, he would never recover.
Kai let out a long sigh. All this morose talk damped my mood.
“Did you notice?” I wiggled, making it a point of rubbing against his middle. “We’re laying here together and you’re not even hard.”
“You are in pain. Hurting people does not get me off.”
“See, you don’t need to send me away.”
He wrapped his arms around me and squeezed. “I may not want to hurt you, but I may.”
“But I might.”
This conversation could go around and around. “I’ll stay in this bed till I’m eighteen then.”
“That is not acceptable.”
“We’re stronger together.”
“Enough!” He struggled out of the bed. “Pack your personal items. I will take you to the other apartment after work.”
Kai’s car parked front and center where my last class let out. This was it then. He was going to try and stash me somewhere he wouldn’t see me. Well, that kind of convenience wasn’t in the cards for us. So many years apart didn’t give way for a recess. Another underlying reason to stick to Kai like glue—Andy.
Certain tell-tale signs indicated Kai was more than just a social worker. Where he lived, his car, even his wardrobe didn’t add up to government pay. The story about his dad seemed more about dynasty and less middle-class pride than he let on. If Andy stayed away from me because of my boyfriend’s influence, being separated was a bad idea. Knowing that vulture waited for me spurred panic. But that was my deal, not Kai’s.
I climbed in the Tesla beside an apathetic driver with an aura of frost hanging behind Ray Ban shades.
“Hello,” I gulped down my enthusiasm.
He didn’t respond. Kai drove in the opposite direction of home and The Muffin Cap. I suspected my bag still sat in the trunk. I didn’t have to guess for long before he parked across from a three-story apartment complex to know we’d arrived at the new place.
Kai got out, opened the trunk and pulled out my duffle bag. He approached the security gate without checking to see if I followed. I did, but with reluctance.
“Can we talk about this?”
He answered me with a stony face, eyes masked by his sunglasses and a wave of his hand to enter the courtyard.
The place was out of the 70’s but clean. A pool filter hummed near the deck cleaning a bean shaped water feature. Modest front doors sported peep holes in the center of brass knockers. I passed six-foot palms sprouting in square dirt patches between each residence. This was the kind of place I’d expect a social worker to live. Plain, small and on the cusp needing a remodel.
I followed Kai to the right-side end apartment. Keys jiggled while I stood in the shadow of the three-story building cul-de-sac. The front door scraped open and Kai went in. Curiosity moved me forward.
“Is this your place?” A fully furnished one-bedroom apartment was more than I could wish for not six months ago. I’d dreamed of a place like this before I went to live with Kai.
“This is now your home.” He unwrapped the key from the wire ring.
“Are you staying here?”
He held two keys out to me. “No.”
“Then neither am I.”
Kai dropped his arm. “You cannot stay with me.”
“You know why.” He turned his face like it hurt to look at me.
“So, you’ve decided all by yourself that we…” I motioned a hand between us. “can’t figure this out?”
“I made one slip-up, after all this time…”
“Liam…” He raised his hand offering me the keys again. “Take these.”
“Toss me out like trash, but don’t keep me like a shameful mistress.”
Within the span of a blink, Kai pushed me up against the wall, his body pressed against mine, his lips at my ear. His breath tickled the hairs on the back of my neck. “Are you trying to fuck me or fuck me over?”
“Neither.” I jut my knee upward.
He blocked my leg and flipped me around. My arms were locked in his hands. The side of my face kissed the wall—intimately. My lips crinkled like a fish. “I can fight you off if I have to.”
“Is that what your doing?” He ground himself against my backside.
I lifted my leg for another nut strike. No good. He blocked that one too. Kai was not helping me prove my point. All these weeks of training didn’t make me faster than him. Time to appeal to his softer nature.
“You wouldn’t hurt me.” I relaxed while he jacked my arms up my back.
“Yes, I would,” He hissed.
“Help!” I screamed with a crackling voice. Not that I needed help. But I followed Kai’s training. Make space, be loud, don’t be alone, run when you can.
He jumped off me, vibrating with anger. “That will not save you inside my condominium.”
“No!” He held up his hands as if thwarting off my words. “We will… we will speak on the phone.” He set the pair of keys on the kitchen table and high tailed out of the apartment.
“Kai!” I chased after him but he was already at the gate. Damn he was lighting fast.
As Kai left, Damien stepped out from across the way, stopping me dead in my tracks. “You all right, kid?”
“Yeah.” I sneered, backing up into the new place and shut the door.
Great. That worked, I sneered at myself.
The keys lay on the table tempting me to take Kai up on this living space offer. If I did, the guilt would eat me alive. It was one thing to live with him, help him pay rent, as little as I offered. Fix meals, though he liked to cook for me. Do chores, though he seemed to have a handle on that as well. But I couldn’t afford this place and if I wanted free rent whoring myself out I’d have stayed with Andy. Okay. Harsh. Kai didn’t want sex with me. I got it. What’s the opposite of pimping myself out? But I just couldn’t do it. Nothing in life is free.
I picked up my bag, gave one last look to the keys on the table and locked the door on my way out.
Thank you for reading Handle with Care by S.N.McKibben.
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